Dear reader. Feel, thanks to the catastrophisation of New Zealand’s quarantine system by National and parts of the media, that we are living in a cluster f&%k?
This is even though the indications are that the large cluster that may have formed appears to have come from an infection point not related to anyone in quarantine and the second solitary infection came from the inopportune pressing of an elevator button.
If you think things are bad in Aotearoa you should see what is happening in Australia. Last night TVNZ has this really interesting programme on it.
Short version it makes New Zealand’s response look perfect. Australia’s quarantine system has failed because they were not doing the things that we have been done locally. And if you really want to lean something that will shake you, it is estimated that 2,400 health workers in Victoria have contracted the virus, although most infections occurred out of work.
The proof is in the figures. For instance yesterday New Zealand had three new cases, one in the community and linked to the existing cluster and two being returning kiwis. Thankfully no one died.
By way of contrast Melbourne had 207 new cases and 17 deaths. Recently daily infection rates have spiked to over 700. Melbourne has a similar population to New Zealand.
Donald Trump has also engaged in this catastrophisation of New Zealand’s efforts. The Young Turks has this scathing take down of what he was saying.
There are questions being asked about why comprehensive testing of quarantine workers has not been rolled out more quickly. I suspect the answer relates to the need to priortise attention and resources in a time of an emergency and the need to reconcile mandatory testing with the sharing of a finite resource and to reconcile it with the rights of workers.
The media attention in part is helpful in that it is driving changes to the system but the tales of doom and gloom are really overblown. As an example this collation of views by Bryce Edwards uses “botch-up” nine times. This is a really tricky virus and it appears that every time a call is made what is “safe” treatment of the virus and of potential contamination the precautions are made more stringent. Post event reviews and armchair epidemiology is not helpful. The media have the right and role to ask the tough questions. But some of the catastrophisation is excessive and unhelpful.
Laila Harre yesterday gave the perfect response.
Meanwhile National’s response is interesting. Dr Shane Reti is being trotted out and is adopting a very reasonable conspiracy free approach to the matter. And over the past couple of days Judith Collins and Gerry Brownlee have disappeared.
Today will be interesting. I suspect that the temptation to go to level 2 on the basis that contract tracing appears to have been working and the rate of new infections is tailing off will be strong. But time will tell.